Country music legend Dolly Parton has lent her voice to the chorus of celebrities condemning North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill.”
The law, signed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in March, strips away civil rights protections for LGBT citizens in the state, including their ability to use the restroom of their choice. Parton, who has long been an outspoken advocate for equality, took issue with the legislation.
“I think everybody should be treated with respect,” Parton said during a recent appearance on CNN Money. “I don’t judge people and I try not to get too caught up in the controversy of things. I hope that everybody gets a chance to be who and what they are.”
Parton, who is currently embarking on a Pure & Simple Tour nationwide, has not canceled her upcoming appearance in North Carolina, but she did state emphatically: “I just know if I have to pee, I’m going to pee — I don’t care where it’s going to be.”
A number of high-profile performers, including Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Demi Lovato have already pledged to boycott the state over the law. Meanwhile, the 70-year-old Parton continues to burnish her established a track record of speaking her mind when it comes to LGBT equality
In 2014, she declared her support for gay marriage, joking that “they should suffer just like us heterosexuals.”
“I didn’t know any gay people in my childhood. I do have a lot of gays in my family now, but some will never come out,” the singer told Britain’s Event magazine that spring. Later that year, Parton spoke candidly to Billboard magazine about her LGBT fanbase: “They know that I completely love and accept them, as I do all people. I’ve struggled enough in my life to be appreciated and understood. I’ve had to go against all kinds of people through the years just to be myself.”
She added, “I think everybody should be allowed to be who they are, and to love who they love. I don’t think we should be judgmental. Lord, I’ve got enough problems of my own to pass judgment on somebody else.”
Parton had previously penned the Oscar-nominated theme song for the 2005 transgender-focused film “Transamerica,” she has hosted “Gay Days” at her Dollywood theme-park and, in July of 2014, she previewed a track called “Just a Wee Bit Gay,” which was rumored to be part of entire pro-gay album she had in the works.
“At some point I would like to do a dance record and I have several songs that are very positive towards the gay community,” she told reporters at the time. “I have a song called ‘Just A Wee Bit Gay.’ It’s a great little dance tune, it’s funny and it’s got a lot of comic in it … I do write a lot of songs along those lines with people that are different and are just themselves.”
Although she has been married to her husband Carl Dean for 50 years, has actually been subject to gay rumors herself involving a lifelong female friend, but the singer has taken the stories in stride, likening it to gossip directed at talk show icon Oprah Winfrey.
“Like Gayle [King], her friend, Judy, my friend … they just think that you just can’t be that close to somebody,” Parton said in 2012. “Judy and I have been best friends since we were like in the third and fourth grade. We still just have a great friendship and relationship and I love her as much as I love anybody in the whole world, but we’re not romantically involved.”